Programmed experiences providing a range of sport and active recreation activities for people with disabilities are great for personal development and the development of skills, they may also involve an element of risk.

If participants are hurt where the risk of injury is unreasonably high, or reasonable precautions have not been taken, a leader may be found negligent in their duty of care to a participant. The law of negligence requires leaders to act reasonably.

How does a leader decide what is reasonable? Common sense and experience in working with people with disabilities is the best guide in deciding what is reasonable.

In segregated experiences, leaders usually determine the program and organise activities, taking into account the abilities of participants. At integrated programs the activity program is usually organised and the leader assists participants with a disability to participate as fully as possible. In both situations, before assisting your participant to take part, first consider the level of risk for the participant involved. The following guide will help you to determine the level of risk. Any activity that is more than of a low-risk, should be discussed with the Program Manager, who will weigh up the risks against the advantages, and the precautions to be taken.

It is important to prepare an activity plan outlining proposed activities, the people involved and any special precautions you consider necessary. This plan should be discussed with the Program Manager who will advise as to the appropriateness of participating in certain activities.

The activity plan should include:

  • Day to day timetable of activities;
  • The participant's limitations, including maturity, previous experience and skill level;
  • Emergency procedures that are to be followed in the event of an emergency;
  • Special precautions that will be taken;
  • List of equipment to be used; and
  • Medical information.